Union Canal: Video shows 30 metre breach near Muiravonside as storms cause mass flooding

The canal burst its banks in the early hours of Wednesday morning after thunderstorms hit the country.
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The Union Canal burst its banks in the early hours of Wednesday morning as mass flooding and thunderstorms battered the country.

This video, taken by Catherine Topley, shows the extent of the damage.

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A 30 metre breach was reported in the Muiravonside area where part of the embankment was washed away in the storm.

Picture and video: Catherine TopleyPicture and video: Catherine Topley
Picture and video: Catherine Topley

Richard Millar, Scottish Canals Director of Infrastructure said: “ Last night saw 80mm of rain fall between midnight and 6am, with over 40mm falling in one hour alone at 5am.

“This led to a significant volume of water flowing into the canal, eventually overtopping and washing away part of the embankment and leading to a breach which is now 30m wide.”

Fortunately there were no injuries, however the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line has been affected.

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Staff from Scottish Canals were deployed at 8am on Wednesday to take the necessary measures including installing stop planks at Manse Road Basin in Linlithgow to the east of the site and sandbags both at the A801 canal bridge and at Vellore Road bridge to the west.

There is also an emergency towpath closure between the A801 and Vellore Road.

Scottish Canals are in the process of contacting those boating customers who will be affected and are also liaising with Transport Scotland, Network Rail, SEPA, Historic Environment Scotland and Falkirk Council.

They added: “We prioritise these works according to the risk each asset poses first to the public, followed by visitors and staff, and then operability. This stretch of the Union Canal was not identified as a high-risk asset.

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“However as 200-year old working heritage structures, Scotland’s canals face increasing pressures from climate change.

"Freak weather, such as we experienced in Scotland over the last 24 hours, brings much higher volumes of water than these scheduled monuments were initially designed to accommodate.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to remind canal users to be safe and to protect our staff by keeping physically distanced while we respond to this situation.

"Also, in the event of an out-of-hours emergency on the canal, members of the public can contact us on 0800 072 9900.”

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